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Another One Bites the Dust?
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Cleopatra



Joined: 28 Jun 2003
Posts: 3657
Location: Tuamago Archipelago

PostPosted: Mon Dec 15, 2003 1:59 pm    Post subject: Another One Bites the Dust? Reply with quote

Anyone see the article in the Arab News about how a prominent sheickh by the name of Al Khaldi - known for his habit of liberally pronouncing people "infidels" if they didn't conform to his particular views on Islam - has "recanted" and renounced terrorism!

Strange, that. Even stranger is that two other sheikhs have made similar pronouncements in the past few weeks. Stranger yet is that all were arrested following the November bombings. Not, of course, that that has any connection whatsoever to the sheikh's newfound tolerance...

What does anyone make of this knee-jerk sprit of openness new espoused by the Arab News, among others? I, for one, sometimes find the habit the Arab News have of trying to cosy up to what they belive is "Western" attitudes, a tad annoying. Like the articles - by the same Riad Qusti - saying that noone will want to come to KSA as a tourist as long as men and women eat in separate parts of a restaurant. Well, that's just too bad! Not that I think segregation is a wonderful thing, but it's for Saudis to decide, not hypothetical "Western" tourists!

I suppose you could say it's a good sign, as it shows a willingness, if nothing else, to confront unpleasant aspects of Saudi society. Of course, there's nothing altruistic about it on the part of the powers that be, just a recognition that their habit of actively promoting religious fanaticism has literally blown up in their faces.

But it has to be better than nothing. Doesn't it?
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12304
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Mon Dec 15, 2003 3:03 pm    Post subject: Jewish tourists need not apply. Reply with quote

Dear Cleopartra,
Well if Mr. Qusti wrote
". . . that no one will want to come to KSA as a tourist as long as men and women eat in separate parts of a restaurant".
Then he was clearly wrong. That's far too general a statement. I think, however, that it would cut down on the number of potential tourists, as, for that matter, the ban of alcohol would. But for Saudis to change these practices simply to get more bucks is not only unlikely, it's would also, in my opinion, be wrong. - perhaps, in some cases, doing what I might think is the right thing for the wrong reason, but still wrong. However, there are other "practices" that fall into a different category, I'd say. For example, not allowing anyone of the Jewish faith to enter Saudi Arabia (unless, of course, that person is a big mover and shaker). Can you imagine this scene at, say a New York travel agency:

" I'm very sorry, Mrs. Goldberg. We can't book you on that tour of Saudi Arabia"
" But why not?"
"Well, ah - because you're Jewish."

Whoa, the lawsuits would start flying, fast and furious.

Regards,
John
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Cleopatra



Joined: 28 Jun 2003
Posts: 3657
Location: Tuamago Archipelago

PostPosted: Mon Dec 15, 2003 3:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear John,

Don't other Arab states - such as UAE - also ban Jews from entering their countries, officially at least?

And couln't it be argued that one of the things which might attract tourists to KSA is its very weirdness?

Anyway, although the Kingdom does have some serious economic countries, it's not exactly desperate for the tourist $, so I doubt Mr. Qusti's wishes will come true and the Saudis will sacrifice their "culture" to pander to "Western" whims a la Dubai.

Not yet, anyway.
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12304
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Mon Dec 15, 2003 4:48 pm    Post subject: Boy and girl cotts Reply with quote

Dear Cleopatra,
I'm not sure about the UAE - probably, I'd guess (at least theoretically).
But here's an interesting web site that deals with some aspects of the subject:

http://www.bxa.doc.gov/AntiboycottCompliance/CaseHistories/OACCaseHistories1.html

Regards,
John
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Stephen Jones



Joined: 21 Feb 2003
Posts: 4124

PostPosted: Tue Dec 16, 2003 5:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I knew of a Jewish person who worked at the Saudi Monetary Agency in the mid nineties. He was treated like shit mind you.

I remember that when you had to declare your religion on the Saudi visa form it stated that Jews and atheists were not allowed, but I think that disappeared a few years ago.

I wouldn't recomment anybody Jewish coming to Saudi at the moment, simply because they will be held responsible for all the misdeeds of the Israeli government, but I don't think the boycott applies to individuals.
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MacMahon



Joined: 04 Oct 2003
Posts: 39

PostPosted: Wed Dec 17, 2003 6:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Morning, Evening all,

I can't say I agree with you on that one Stephen. I mean unless your name is Ariel Sharon how would anybody know? Anonymity is at the discretion of the individual so I can't see how someone from the Jewish faith would be excluded from work opportunities. Unless you mean those actually from Israel?
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Stephen Jones



Joined: 21 Feb 2003
Posts: 4124

PostPosted: Wed Dec 17, 2003 9:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Macmahon,
Can't see what you are disagreeing with here. Could you be more explicit as to the phrase I used you disagree with.
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Cleopatra



Joined: 28 Jun 2003
Posts: 3657
Location: Tuamago Archipelago

PostPosted: Wed Dec 17, 2003 1:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I went to KSA two years ago, I was asked to state my religion on the visa form.
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guty



Joined: 10 Apr 2003
Posts: 364
Location: on holiday

PostPosted: Wed Dec 17, 2003 5:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

On my entry to the magic kingdom, last month I had to state not only my religion, but also the particular sect I belong to.
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12304
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Wed Dec 17, 2003 6:30 pm    Post subject: No Jews allowed? Reply with quote

Not sure how accurate and/or unbiased the book, "Hatred's Kingdom" is
(the title itself would suggest a large degree - at the very least - of animus). But one review comes right out and says that:

"It is interesting in reading reviews of this book, that the very people who call Israel racist apartheid, boastingly admit that Jews cannot get a visa into Saudi Arabia precisely because they are Jews!"

and

"I want to thank the reviewer for substantiating Arab hatred and racism to the reader's attention by gloating that Dore Gold cannot know anything about Saudi Arabia because he "cannot even get a visa into Saudi Arabia because he is a Jew!"

Sounds to me like the book's a real hatchet job - but even a hatchet job can have a few facts in it.

And there certainly seem to be at least some Muslims who think individuals of no other faith should even be allowed into the Kingdom:

http://www.islamic-state.org/saudi/peninsula.shtml

Boy, lots of intolerance everywhere, it seems.
Regards,
John
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Truth Hurts



Joined: 05 Jul 2003
Posts: 115
Location: Truthville

PostPosted: Wed Dec 17, 2003 8:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

John

It's curious you should point out the Kingdom's position on Jews and Israel's apartheid policies. There was a time once when Western democracies adopted similar attitudes toward white South Africans during apartheid rule. So I don't see why Israel - at least on moral grounds - should receive privileged treatment in this respect.

But there's no need to look as far as the Middle East. I personally see little difference between the post-9/11 McCarthyist frenzy that is denying ordinary Muslims and Middle Easterners from entering the U.S. and in many cases leading to their imprisonment and expulsion without trial.

It just so happens that only last week a close Saudi friend of mine recounted to me how his brother had been recently expelled (and humiliated) because of some minor immigration violation not to mention my Pakistani friend who has had his visa application turned down and was unable to visit his family for Eid. These are apparently cases that are taking place with alarming frequency - thanks to the Patriot Act.

I do hope your man - Howard Dean - can undo some of the Bush damage. We have succesfully become possibly the most detestable regime in modern times!

Perhaps the authors should consider a sequel: The United States of Hatred!

TH
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12304
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Wed Dec 17, 2003 10:34 pm    Post subject: Fear to Hate Reply with quote

Dear Truth Hurts.
There's a rather popular bumper sticker in the States these days:

"Dude, where's my country?"

The so-called "Patriot Act" is a good example of how generalized fear can drive people to intolerance and hatred. I think the 2004 presidental election is the most crucial for the USA and the rest of the world since 1938, when FDR was re-elected. If we don't get off our bottoms and get involved, and Dubya and Co. are in for another 4 years, there may be no answer to the question the bumper sticker asks.
Regards,
John
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Cleopatra



Joined: 28 Jun 2003
Posts: 3657
Location: Tuamago Archipelago

PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2003 1:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

While there may be (I stress the "may") a case for Arab countries denying entry to Israeli passport holders, there is no reason - other than pure prejudice - to deny entry to all people of the Jewish faith. Mind you, KSA also, as far as I know, denies entry to "idolators" - Hindus, Buddists, etc. Of course, we all know that there are ten of thousands of them in the country (Sri Lankans, Malaysians for example) but they fib on their visa form and put donw "Christian". So I don't htibnk the ban on Jews is exceptional by Saudi standards.

As for that book "Hatred's Kingdom", well, the author Dore Gold (born in Conneticut and living on stolen Palestinian land) is a slime ball even by Likudnik standards. Which isn't, as John said, to suggest that 100% of what he wrietes is neccesarily false. Just that there's a high chance that it is!

Ditto, "The TWo Faces of Islam" by Stephen Schwartz - Jewish born convert to Sufiism and hater of "Wahhabism". I read it, expecting it to be a balanced view of Islam with all its faults and good points too, but found it to be a hatchet job on all things Saudi and ARab in general.
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Stephen Jones



Joined: 21 Feb 2003
Posts: 4124

PostPosted: Fri Dec 19, 2003 1:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's quite common for Sri Lankan Buddhists to put down Christian on their application forms in the belief this enhances their chances of employment, but I am pretty certain that there are plenty of Buddhists who put down their real religion.

Perhaps the people who filled in the form about religion could tell us if the rider that Judaism and atheiism are not permitted is still there.
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Cleopatra



Joined: 28 Jun 2003
Posts: 3657
Location: Tuamago Archipelago

PostPosted: Fri Dec 19, 2003 8:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

When i filled in the visa form 2 and a half years ago, there was nothing - at least that I noticed saying that Jews and atheists can't get in to KSA.

However, I'm pretty sure the ban is still enforced, though maybe not officially.
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